Service charges - latest updates
Schemes with Managing Agents
A small number of residents who live on a scheme where a Managing Agent provides services have not yet received their final service charge statement for 2014/15. We would like to apologise for the further delay and confirm we will sending these out by the end of October 2016.
Your service charge estimate letter - April 2016
The service charges estimates for 2016/17 were sent to residents the week commencing 4 April 2016. We appreciate that your estimate will have arrived later than usual this year and we apologise for any issues this may have caused. We also included a handy booklet Your Service Charge 2016/17 Estimate explained which includes frequently asked questions. If you are still unclear about what your payments should be or have any queries please contact us via Customer Services and ask for the Service Charges team or e-mail us via our online contact form so we can assist.
We are working proactively to resolve any issues that residents raise with us in relation to any potential changes to their charges. Our Income team can also help you with ways to pay. You can contact the Income Team via Customer Services. We also have specialist support officers who can help you with benefit issues; and independent financial advisors who can provide advice on budgeting and other financial matters.
Do I need to advise the housing benefit office of the new amount?
If you receive Housing Benefits, Hyde will have advised your Housing Benefit Office of the new amounts. However, you can check with your relevant local Housing Benefit Office, to make sure they have adjusted your payments to reflect the new charges.
Do I need to adjust my payments at the bank?
If you currently pay by Direct Debit, we will automatically amend your payment and you will receive a separate letter detailing the new payments. If you pay by standing order, please advise your bank of the new amount.
What is a service charge?
A service charge is a payment made by a tenant or a homeowner towards the cost of communal services and repairs beyond those specifically for their house or flat. For example, if you live in a block of flats with a communal garden, the cost of maintaining that garden is covered by a service charge because it is available to all residents as a communal service and it is outside of their flats.
An estate charge is a similar payment made by a resident for services to the estate in which their home is located.
Please read our Service Charges Explained booklet for more detailed information about how we calculate your service charges.
What is included in my service charge?
As a landlord, we are obliged to provide you with certain services and repairs, which we then charge on to the residents who received the service.
The exact services you pay for will be set out in your tenancy agreement or lease, but could include:
- Employing a caretaker
- Cleaning communal areas, including cleaning windows and removing dumped rubbish
- Gardening and grounds maintenance
- Repairs to communal facilities such as door entry systems, television aerials and lighting
- Lift maintenance and repairs
- Providing fire-fighting equipment, including repairing and testing emergency lighting and smoke alarms
- Providing water, electricity and gas supplies to communal areas
- Insurance for blocks of flats and houses (usually homeowners)
- Health and safety such as fire safety, legionella, asbestos and electrical testing in communal areas.
When do I receive my service charge bill?
- A service charge estimate is sent to you at the beginning of the financial year. Your monthly payments are based on this estimate.
- A service charge statement is sent to you after the end of the financial year which shows the actual costs of the services and repairs provided. This will tell you whether the cost of repairs and services was more or less than the service charge estimate.
Why have my service charges increased?
In some areas, service charges have increased due to increasing legislation and regulation particularly around health and safety. This has been particularly true in blocks of flats where a number of high profile cases have put the spotlight on the safety of residents. New regulations have led to an increase in fighting equipment testing, emergency lighting, electrical and legionella testing, plus other health and safety tests. We are now also under a duty of care to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment on all internal communal areas to minimise the risk of fire and to regularly check asbestos in our properties. As a responsible landlord, we take the safety and security of our residents very seriously and will not compromise.
As part of our commitment to improve our services, we are currently undertaking a large scale project for new contractors to deliver these services. This will help us to improve our service to you, maintain our estates and communal areas more effectively and deliver better value for money. Find out more about the new cleaning and gardening services contracts.